Analysis of Slim in Hell by Sterling Brown and Power by Audre Lorde

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Analysis of Slim in Hell by Sterling Brown and Power by Audre Lorde “Slim in Hell” by Sterling Brown written in 1932 and “Power” by Audre Lorde written over forty years later, are protest poems looking at, and attacking, the problem of racism through the use of imagery, structure, and tone. Through their different uses of imagery and structure, they create their respective tones and take their respective (and different) approaches towards this problem of racism “Power” is an outcry at what is going on and has been going on with the African American peoples throughout the last four-hundred years: “they had dragged her 4´10´´ black woman’s frame/over the hot coals of four centuries of white male approval” (35,36). The lack of rhyme scheme is the vent of the outrage of the speaker. When we are mad (as mad as this speaker is), things become jumbled. We do not think in a normal way. Things that are usually normal are not so normal. The speaker is only consumed by the anger built up inside of it, and we see that by some of the things that it says, and by the overall construction of its poem. The difference of the structures of the stanzas is another thing that denotes this `action´ of anger, and the thought that the speaker is consumed by its anger and showing it. The speaker, in its state of anger, is not thinking of how many lines it is putting into each stanza. The poem is also thought about , but the words are spilling out of the speaker’s mouth in an anger ridden breakdown. The structure and almost regular meter of “Slim in Hell” shows that it is more of an organized and thought about poem. This organization is a result of the satire and wit involved in the poem. The speaker is attacking the concepts of racism... ... middle of paper ... ...ng to explode with anger and be jumbled? Are our eyes going to see some revolting things? These two poems are what has happened and what could happen, and it is very easy to see the connection and evolution from the time of the first to the second, just as easy as it is to see the use of imagery and structure in relation to the tones of the poems. Are things going to have to come to this point of explosion where we will really find out if the pen is mightier than the sword? Works Cited Brown, Sterling “Slim in Hell”. Heath Introduction to Literature. Eds. Alice S. Landy and William Rodney Allen. Sixth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Pages 320-323. Lorde, Audre “Power”. Heath Introduction to Literature. Eds. Alice S. Landy and William Rodney Allen. Sixth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Pages 388-389.

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